Benthic Habitats and the Effects of Fishing

Symposium Abstract: An Assessment of Fish and Invertebrate Communities along Trans-Pacific Cable Lines: A Pilot Study with Implications for Marine Reserve Planning

T. D. Hart and S. S. Heppell

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569605.ch24

Marine protected areas are currently being considered along the Oregon coast with the intention of rebuilding stocks. But stakeholders have questioned the effectiveness of reserves and little data exist with regard to marine reserves or the effects of fishing activities on benthic habitat along the Oregon coast. A unique opportunity exists to begin to collect such information because of de facto no-trawl reserves that exist along submerged coastal corridors where trans-oceanic communication cables have been laid across the seafloor. I intend to investigate a cluster of unburied cables, which extend off the Oregon coast just north of Bandon (summer, 2002). The corridor of reduced fishing impact, according to the trawl log book data, is approximately 2 miles wide and extends out from shore approximately 14 miles to about 70 fathoms. With the use of an ROV (remotely operated vehicle), commercial trawl data, and bathymetry data, I will be able to analyze the impact, if any, these de facto refuges have had on bottom-dwelling invertebrates and fish species of commercial importance. Specifically, I will analyze individual groundfish species associations with different substrate types and invertebrates within and outside of the cable corridor. This collaborative research will establish a credible baseline study on which to build further investigation regarding possible design of a successful marine reserve for groundfish and invertebrate species along the Oregon coast.